Newest jump-to-the-front-of-the-line scheme at Hersheypark--Gonch had it right--there is no escape

Sunday, July 22, 2007 4:25 PM
Since I'm on Hershey's mailing list, I just got an email about the Sweet Access Pass, available only to guests of Hershey's Resorts. Right now for $188 an adult (the price wavers based on time of year--it jumps to $195 on August 1st), you can get a five-hour VIP tour of the park including concierge service.

For that price, you get unlimited front-of-the-line opportunity during their conceirge service (doesn't include The Boardwalk), complimentary food & beverage (except at standalone carts), premium seating at all entertainment venues and shows, and one complimentary ride photo. The time periods are either between 10am-3pm or 4pm-9pm. There was also something about getting premium tee-times at their golf course.

Since they listed the prices for June 1st-June 30 at $165 a person I'm thinking that either this price was already in place, or that this will be the price for next year as well.

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Sunday, July 22, 2007 7:03 PM
This is of course in addition to what you pay for lodging at one of the Hershey resorts (Hotel Hershey, Hershey Lodge, etc.) which are just slightly more expensive than a Motel 6. :)

I don't see all that many people signing up for this-- at least nothing like Qbots. And the ones who do, I don't see disrupting lines that much at all. Personally, I don't think it's worth it, but I suppose if Hershey has people willing to pay for it, they may as well charge them.

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Sunday, July 22, 2007 9:05 PM
I think there's just too many differing levels of opinion to have a remotely linear discussion on this topic.

When Q-bot comes up people say it's not fair to have to pay more or to offer additional perks for those with loose wallets. That creating a class system is unfair.

People love Disney's system because it's free and everyone can use it.

Now we have the opinion that this one is priced so high that few will use it. But when it was SF's VIP in question the comments about how ridiculous a $800 to $1000 day for a family of four were everywhere. It's ok to create a class system as long as the higher class doesn't disrupt the lower one and as long as you're not Six Flags.

All I've seemed to have learned so far is that systems that all have access to for free are good. Systems that price high enough to discriminate against the masses are good, but the one systems that meets both sides in the middle is bad.

Go figure.

(although any thread that includes the words "Gonch had it right" is ok in my book ;) )

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Sunday, July 22, 2007 9:35 PM
No one seems to mind or bring up the fact that Cedar Point has the same system in place also.

It's never caused any trouble on any of my trips, I guess I just usually assume they're either handicapped or it was a parent swap. If someone is crazy enough to pay that kind of money then they can take the seat before me. I just snicker and think about how much money I saved by switching to Geico. ;)

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Sunday, July 22, 2007 9:55 PM
In three posts you've concluded that no one minds CP has a similar system? Don't you think that's generalizing a bit?
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Sunday, July 22, 2007 10:20 PM
I'm speaking as a general observation from both here and PB and the fact that no one has ever complained about the fact that CP has this type of VIP system. At least none that I can recall in the many discussions about fast pass and Qbot.

Does that meet your generalization requirements now? :)

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Monday, July 23, 2007 12:38 AM
The reason I mentioned that I thought there wouldn't be that many takers for this offer (at least compared to regular guests) is that the Sweet Pass is only available to people staying at one of the Hershey resorts. Unlike the VIP tours at Six Flags which are apparently open to anyone willing to pay the price.

A quick check of the Hershey website shows the lowest current rates at the Hotel and Lodge are $399 and $279 per night respectively. (I didn't bother to include the campground) The absolute lowest price a family of four would pay for this is 279 + 2@180 + 2@99 plus 4 park admissions @ the resort guest rate plus whatever other expenses they incur at the hotel/lodge. I'd say you're looking at an easy $1000 minimum.

Did I say anywhere in my previous post that I liked this system? No. Have I come out in favor of any pay-to-line-jump percs at any park? No. I'm just saying that this might be the least painful and less noticeable to the average park goer because of the few people I thought would take advantage of it.

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Monday, July 23, 2007 1:17 AM

Lord Gonchar said:
I think there's just too many differing levels of opinion to have a remotely linear discussion on this topic.

I'll stay out of it after this one little post so that you, matt., and the rest can have your one sided discussion about it.


Lord Gonchar said:
...It's ok to create a class system as long as the higher class doesn't disrupt the lower one and as long as you're not Six Flags.

I think if you took out the sarcasm and worded it a little differently, that would be just about my opinion on it. I don't really mind people with more money getting more, as long as it doesn't take away from what I paid for. VIP services are so cost prohibitive and low key that it will not affect the regular park guest's day much at all.

..."As long as you not Six Flags", who have been seemingly lowering capacity for everyone in order to sell line cut's to people who can pay more, it will not affect me much either. (SF may not be having the capacity issues as much this year, but when they have to start making those interest payments again, who knows what budgets will get cut?)

HP is one of my favorite parks and I hope they don't go into the business of reselling spaces in line. In a lot of states line cutting is illegal. Lo-Q found a loophole.

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Monday, July 23, 2007 2:10 AM
Here's the page describing things. Interesting that it's linked with a prominent placement on Hershey's main page.

Even more interesting is that the deal includes park admission andthat there's child pricing that's lower ($99).

Still more interesting is that it applies to campground guests as well with summer rates that are stupid-low ($37-$87 depending)


RGB:
I'd say you're looking at an easy $1000 minimum.

I would have thought so too until I found the page for this deal.

Family of four (with two kids under 9) driving their RV to the campground in June:

RV spot: $36.50
Adult Sweet Access: $300
Kids Sweet Access: $198

Total: 534.50

It's a f'n steal at that price. That's an average of $133 a head.

In comparison, a Gold Q-bot at SFGAdv would run that family of four $176 plus park admission. (and isn't going to offer the rest of the perks either)

Seems within reach of many to me.

And to get completely sidetracked, when I was looking up that Q-bot price, I noticed that SFGAdv's VIP price has been raised to $299. (looks like they realized they initially underpriced it)

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Monday, July 23, 2007 9:27 AM
(sigh)
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Monday, July 23, 2007 10:09 AM

dexter said:
In a lot of states line cutting is illegal.

What states would those be?

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Monday, July 23, 2007 10:34 AM
I think they should have a dress code for the VIPs so that the general population will instantly recognize them as Very Important and thus not get upset about them coming up the exit. ;)

Seriously though, it is a calculated risk that the parks are taking. They think it won't piss off the regular guests enough to eat up the extra money they are making with the program.

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Monday, July 23, 2007 10:37 AM
Even better, since you are already paying $500 for Sweet Access - even if you have NO interest in camping, what is to stop you from booking a campsite at $36.50, checking in at the ranger office to check in (Tell em you are bringing the RV in later) , then that is the last you see of the capground until you show up at the ranger's office to do a ceremonial check out.

Okay, its now $135 instead of $125 average per person now, that's still almost half off the $1000 estimates that were flying around at first. And remember it includes park admission for the entire day, plus a parking pass. Deduct those expenses which you would have had to cover anyway. I'm not sure if the sit down eatery, Pippin's is included in the free food, or if you have to complete your meal before 9pm, or how late Pippin's is open, but say book an 8:45 table at Pippins, and order the expensive stuff, appetizers, deserts, and such. Oh yes, there ware ways to work this offer around to benefit you.

You can still book a room anywhere else (so long as it is under $200) and come out ahead.

Hmm, have to check that campground website, maybe they have primitve (teepee/tent) sites for even less, that you can use purely for eligibility reasons.

Working the system...

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Monday, July 23, 2007 10:46 AM
$31 is the cheapest site in the fall season.
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Monday, July 23, 2007 12:15 PM

matt. said:

dexter said:
In a lot of states line cutting is illegal.

What states would those be?


My mistake. I thought it was stated on the long-worded "legal" signs at ride entrances in OH and PA, but upon checking google, I can't find it.

Line jumping in any circumstances anywhere *should* be illegal though,if it isn't already, imho.

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Monday, July 23, 2007 12:30 PM
The thing is that both the disney free system and the pay system seperate the patrons .

Disneys systems on the most popular rides if you dont go to park openings you will not get a fast pass. When I went to disney soarin fast passes were out every day before 12pm.

The six flags qbot you have to pay to get a head of the line.

If I was somebody waiting online id rather have the people cutting the line have paid extra for it then it being the fact that the people cutting the line got here on park opening.

With both systems you are being descriminated against so I don't see why people complain.

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Monday, July 23, 2007 12:43 PM

dexter said:
Line jumping in any circumstances anywhere *should* be illegal though,if it isn't already, imho.

Parks are private property, I don't really see the point in the state legislating something that is already very clearly against the rules. Not really the government's job.

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Monday, July 23, 2007 12:53 PM
Well, the city of Santa Clara passed its line jumping law to give Great America more ammo when dealing with jumpers.

*** Edited 7/23/2007 4:54:22 PM UTC by janfrederick***

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Monday, July 23, 2007 1:06 PM
Thing is... with Fast pass, qbots, VIP etc etc, either that you Pay for or is free on a first come first served basis... none of this is line jumping. Guests who take advantages of these systems ARE playing by the rules set up by the parks. They are NOT breaking any rules.

Got a qbot? Go to the head of the line. No qbot? Hurry up and wait.

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Monday, July 23, 2007 1:32 PM

janfrederick said:
Well, the city of Santa Clara passed its line jumping law to give Great America more ammo when dealing with jumpers.

I was under the impression that these laws more or less served to protect the parks against any potentially litigious, line-jumping cry-babies. I may have my news stories mixed up.

At any rate it all seems a bit silly. Here's an interesting article that may apply, at least if you believe the idea your place in line to ride a roller coaster has similarities to your place in line to buy an Iphone. I think it's a pretty good comparison.

http://www.slate.com/id/2169489/

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